Bring on the death threats! Alfred E. Neuman dons a Justin Bieber ‘do on the cover of MAD Magazine’s Feb. 16, 2011 issue.
With Bieber’s concert film, Never Say Never, poised for release this Friday, MAD editor-in-chief John Ficarra deemed this the perfect time for the “One Less Lonely Girl” crooner to make his spoof cover debut.
“That was probably the highlight of his career and being on the cover of MAD is the lowlight. We like to do what we call Zeitgeist covers,” Ficarra told The Associated Press Tuesday. “When we found that his movie was debuting just about the same time we would be coming with the issue, we knew he’d be all over the place. He’ll hate it and buy every copy, and it will be a sellout. Or, conversely, Bieber won’t even notice and we’ll probably sell three copies of the issue,” he added.
Ficarra says his mag’s prepared for the onslaught of hate mail its likely to get once the cover hits newsstands, especially after watching Selena Gomez and Kim Kardashian become the bane of existence for gaggles of screaming tweens once they dared to get too close to the beloved teen singing sensation.
“Every time we put one of these young teen stars on the covers — this goes back to New Kids on the Block — we do get a ton of mail from prepubescent girls. The weird thing is I happened to be looking through old issues and we did a piece on Elvis, too. So that must be hardwired into the DNA of prepubescent girls. When somebody attacks, they do the same. The magazine has changed quite a bit. We take ads, which was a trade-off for the color. Certainly the humor has been ramped up as society has been ramped up. MAD just reflects the signs of the times. It’s a great time because there’re so many whack jobs for us to go after. The lunatic fringe is alive and well from the right to the left. There’s never a shortage of material.”